Gloomhaven Tinkerer Guide – Cards, Builds, Perks, Enhancements & Items

Last Updated on July 16, 2023 by Samuel Franklin

Gloomhaven Tinkerer Guide – Cards, Builds, Perks, Enhancements & Items

With our Gloomhaven Tinkerer guide you will be appropriately equipped to master this support and crowd control focused character for the scenario challenges ahead. This guide details the Tinkerer card, build, perks, enhancements and items for this Gloomhaven class to ensure you have a wide breadth of game knowledge when playing as this mechanical themed base character. This guide provides a pathway up to level 9 for new players and veterans to follow from a level 1 Tinkerer character for a blended damage, utility and healing build that is effective in most party compositions although you may want to adjust it slightly for your own circumstances.

While the Tinkerer is not generally your go to character in smaller party sizes they are a powerful asset in the larger party sizes where the support they offer is ideal to teammates. Primarily from healing, crowd control, traps, conditions, summons and area of effect attacks the Tinkerer is a flexible character that also has a large hand size and medium health pool. Notably a number of their key damage cards are loss cards that can make your decisions have even more weight than your standard mercenary hero as you’ll need to balance this power against your own longevity. This mixture of designs means that the Tinkerer can dance along the front lines with another durable character in the team or safely sit back behind the team with long range attacks and healing cards. Visually the Tinkerer is a Quatryl who are specialists at both gadgets and elixirs which is reflected in your card designs and make some appearances throughout the campaign.

To help decide if the Tinkerer or another class is right for you visit our summary of Gloomhaven classes or a detailed comparison of character power levels in our Gloomhaven tier list article.

Table of Contents:
Tinkerer Cards, Perks, Enhancements and Items Overview
Tinkerer Cards Detailed
Tinkerer Perks Detailed
Tinkerer Enhancements Detailed
Tinkerer Items Detailed


Gloomhaven Tinkerer Guide Overview

The overview of this Tinkerer guide provides a quick reference on how to build the Tinkerer as you progress from level 1 to the maximum level of 9. This section allows you to refer to a quick list while playing Gloomhaven of what in most situations will be the best option available for your character. Further detail on these decisions is provided at the end of the guide for those that want to have a deeper understanding of their options and potentially modify those shown here. These modifications may be because of your unique party composition or personal Tinkerer playstyle and are noted in the advanced section towards the end of this page. The most obvious example is that in smaller party sizes or parties with lower damage overall you may need to take a greater damage focused path while larger parties will generally benefit most from your healing or utility being a focus.


Tinkerer Cards Overview

The Tinkerer can quickly diverge into a mixture of damage, healing and generalist support utility. Finding the right balance is heavily reliant on your party needs so many of these options need to be carefully considered as you progress. The choices below are focused on a middle ground of damage and support at the cost of some healing potential and may not be appropriate for all situations.

  • Level 1: Remove Energising Tonic, Hook Gun and Volatile Concoction with the remaining cards being your starting hand.
  • Level 2: Stamina Booster or Disorientating Flash replaces Proximity Mine
  • Level 3: Crank Bow replaces Harmless Contraption
  • Level 4: Stamina Booster or Disorientating Flash (level 2 card you didn’t get at level 2) replaces Reviving Shock
  • Level 5: Disintegration Beam replaces Flamethrower
  • Level 6: Auto Turret replaces Potable Potions
  • Level 7: Murderous Contraption replaces Reinvigorating Elixir (consider your team damage/healing needs though)
  • Level 8: Harsh Stimulants replaces Enhancement Field
  • Level 9: Lethal Injection replaces Crank Bow

Tinkerer Perks Priority Overview

  • Replace one -2 with +0
  • Remove two -1 (take twice)
  • Add two +1
  • Add one +3
  • Ignore negative scenario effects
  • Add one +1 wound card (take twice)
  • Add one +1 immobilise card (take twice)

Tinkerer Enhancements Priority Overview

  • Add wound to the top of Stun Shot
  • Add strengthen to the top of Restorative Mist
  • Add move to the bottom of Restorative Mist
  • Add strengthen to the top of Stamina Booster
  • Add move or jump to the bottom of Disintegration Beam
  • Add jump to the bottom of Lethal Injection

Tinkerer Items Priority Overview

  • Eagle-Eye Googles
  • Minor Stamina Potion
  • Boots of Striding


Gloomhaven Tinkerer Guide Detailed

This detailed part of the Gloomhaven guide for the Tinkerer character goes in depth into some of the key decisions you have to make and the reasons certain cards might be taken over others. It includes discussion of considerations you will need to make related to your party or specific scenario situations.

Tinkerer Cards Detailed

The Tinkerer cards are as follows and shown in level order:

  • Energising Tonic (Starting): Double losses in Gloomhaven are always tough to fit into a deck given if you don’t have the right opportunity you end up using a default action instead. This means the double losses must have significant power to be considered and Energising Tonic top and bottom simply don’t offer enough to warrant consideration as we have abundance of other heal options and rarely will we need a large move action for our role.
  • Enhancement Field (Starting): A staple card that is perfectly average when compared to other Gloomhaven classes at level 1 with an attack 3 value. Being able to cast this at 3 range makes it a reliable attack from start to end of a scenario and the bottom provides invaluable utility to ourselves and allies when the time is right. The initiative of this card makes this impractical by itself though so if you intend to use the bottom always pair it with a low initiative card.
  • Flamethrower (Starting): A tempting card at first glance and one we fit into our hand although isn’t quite as strong as our other burn top attacks given it is quite situational to achieve peak performance. This is primarily because it requires melee range to an enemy group but the ability to wound multiple enemies is extremely powerful if you get the right opportunity. The bottom is similarly situational and while it can save some damage across a party you’ll need your teammates to be standing together and the Tinkerer no requiring to use a bottom movement action to get into position which is a rare combo.
  • Harmless Contraption (Starting): While summons can be fun to use and the Tinkerer has many of them in most scenarios they are more trouble than they are worth. That being said the decoy can be an okay option to absorb damage for a few turns at the right time and casting this towards the end of the scenario is an easy 2 experience at lower levels as well. Having the bottom heal also provides some good utility for turns you don’t need to move although is not particularly powerful at only 2 heal.
  • Hook Gun (Starting): Another average card from your starting choices that is unlikely to be a regular feature in your scenario deck given the uses for pull are quite niche and the damage is only 2. That being said in looting based scenarios this might sneak into your deck to provide your team some additional loot cards if your party lacks loot actions otherwise.
  • Ink Bomb (Starting): A strong card that gives us a deadly loss attack and a reliable move 4 until we determine the time is right to utilise the top loss of this card. Hitting 2 enemies minimum should be the goal when using the attack portion of this card as 3 is quite rare depending on the scenario and number of party members. In order to do so you’ll need to consider pairing this with a fast card if enemies are already in position for a perfect ink bomb at the end of a previous round. Dark generation is a useful secondary effect of this attack for some classes but not the core consideration of this card by any means.
  • Net Shooter (Starting): Another one of our strong loss attacks that offers good damage and some bonus utility that can keep enemies at bay to potentially prevent damage on our allies. Given this is a loss you’ll always want to ensure your team desperately needs the immobilise effect or damage on at least two enemies when using this card. The immobilise on the bottom is also perfectly themed for this card and provides some utility until you decide the time for the top loss is appropriate.
  • Proximity Mine (Starting): While this ties into theme of the Tinkerer character perfectly it simply is more effort than worth your trouble for the reward it gives which is a theme that repeats across our trap based cards. The high damage of 6 can be used effectively if you are an experienced Gloomhaven player though and understand enemy AI or you can look to pair it with a push or pull action from your team. There will be some rare occasions that it sometimes works but given it is a loss combined with its awkward to use initiative you won’t be including this in your hand for long and when it is part of your scenario cards will be relegated to solely a move card.
  • Reinvigorating Elixir (Starting): A slightly above average starting choice and provides one of your staple early game heals that offers both a good heal amount and decent range to back it up. The bottom is also fantastic when used at the right time although does require some team co-ordination for maximum effect as standing next to your allies as a bottom card (due to lack of top movement options for Tinkerer) can be difficult. Planning ahead is key here with this card allowing players to skip a rest cycle and extend their longevity as they don’t need to burn a card as you would in a normal rest.
  • Restorative Mist (Starting): Offering the Tinkerer a double heal card and some movement this is a fantastic utility card for both the healing options and low initiative value to help us have a quick turn. The bottom is perfect for scenarios that feature lots of poison in particular and we still get to move if necessary to keep up with our allies..
  • Stun Shot (Starting): A basic utility card that gives us a reusable stun in our hand to protect allies and pairs perfectly with the 20 initiative to disable a dangerous foe most of the time regardless of your other card choice. Move 4 is also a nice backup to have but consider carefully if you want to give up the stun for that movement given how powerful stuns can be.
  • Toxic Bolt (Starting): One of our highly useful level 1 cards with damage, good range and allowing us to poison an enemy. While we don’t really have a use for the earth element that this generates its likely someone in our team (like a Spellweaver or Cragheart) will appreciate it. While the bottom isn’t quite as useful given we want to be repeating the top action it’s a nice end of scenario attack to secure a kill we need and gain some experience in the process. 18 initiative also adds some great utility to this card as its one of our fastest cards available.
  • Potent Potables (Starting): This is definitely a viable card to bring along with a fantastic top action in specific circumstances giving us greater healing potency across multiple turns and works nicely with area of effect heals (like Restorative Mist) although sometimes the gain will be lost on allies that are only slightly damaged or impacted by poison. Move 3 rounds out this card nicely although the middle initiative can cause us some headaches in planning our turns.
  • Reviving Shock (Starting): A solid level 1 attacking focused card that provides a total of 4 damage provided we can get within 3 range of 2 enemies which is generally not a problem in any party size. Combining this with Enhancement Field is also a staple damage combo for the early game Tinkerer on turns where movement isn’t necessary. The bottom large heal is also nice to have when necessary although is a burn card that should only be used for emergencies or at the end of a scenario to get the easy experience gain.
  • Volatile Concoction (Starting): Offers little in its top and bottom actions as they are both situational to be effective and even in these situations it is a lacking result for the effort involved. Creating a trap for example to apply poison and damage is just an attack with extra steps while a discarded card recovery simply isn’t impactful enough to trade our own action for. While it becomes slightly better with ice this is simply not something you can expect to have often enough without specific allies but they generally have better uses for it.
  • Disorienting Flash (Level 2): Definitely a viable option at level 2 if your party composition and playstyle allows you to effectively use the bottom muddle regularly although you do need to get in melee range. The top of this card is also a great stun against two enemies although you do pay for it with a loss and the Tinkerer already has so many other loss cards that can quickly have you exhausting if not careful.
  • Stamina Booster (Level 2): Likely to be your default choice of the level 2 options as it gives us a strong heal that will become a staple of our rotation. The bottom is also useful in specific circumstances with particular party members although not the primary reason you’ll be using this card.
  • Crank Bow (Level 3): Adding another loss card attack to our hand should be done with caution as we don’t want to exhaust too quickly although our large hand size of 12 puts the Tinkerer in a better spot than most heroes. Grab this card at level 3 because it is the superior option but you may not want to place it in your deck straight away depending on your team needs. If you need more damage or movement then swap this into the place of one of your healing cards although if you think your team would struggle with that lost heal you can keep Crank Bow out of your hand until you feel it is appropriate. You could also swap this out for Flamethrower if you are finding that melee focused card difficult to use effectively in your party.
  • Tinkerer’s Tools (Level 3): A niche card that is thematic to the Tinkerer but is simply not useful in the vast majority of situations as traps are often better used to damage enemies with push or pull actions. The times you need to disarm a trap are few and far between and the bottom is similarly not that effective given traps placed by players can be awkward to utilise.
  • Dangerous Contraption (Level 4): Another potential summon for the Tinkerer this can tank a few hits from the enemy although is unlikely to be scenario changing and generally better left at home. The move 4 is nice if you find yourself constantly falling behind but we have other move cards available on the sidelines if that is an issue.
  • Micro Bots (Level 4): A bad double loss card that really doesn’t offer anything worthwhile for the Tinkerer given the loss associated with both the top and bottom actions with neither being particularly exciting. If your party lacks loot focused characters the bottom combination of move and loot can make some scenarios significantly easier though.
  • Disintegration Beam (Level 5): An amazing top action burn in the right situation that always feels good when you pull it off. The bottom is the real reason this card is the better of our level 5 options though with the ability to move next to an enemy and disarm them a welcome sight against a big hitting opponent and provides a great non loss bottom for us to use during the scenario.
  • Noxious Vials (Level 5): Like our other level 5 card in the right situation this bottom attack can feel fantastic to use when the time is right although is slightly more niche to be effective and lacks a good initiative. Some party dynamics may enjoy the top action although you are giving up a repeatable disarm from our other level 5 card that is likely not worth it.
  • Gas Canister (Level 6): You’ve probably realised by now that while the concept of trap creation is on theme for the Tinkerer they simply don’t work effectively in practice and require too much setup and a result this is not a card you want to add to your deck. That being said the bottom can be extremely powerful in the right team combinations where you want them to constantly repeat a powerful card and in these cases you can strongly consider Gas Canister.
  • Auto Turret (Level 6): A nice Tinkerer card that allows you to put out up to 10 damage across 5 turns with fantastic range which means you’ll generally have no problem utilising this to slowly chip away at enemies. While it loses some effectiveness against shield heavy scenarios these are few and far between in the scheme of things. Players also need to be careful to activate this at the right time to ensure you get full value from the 5 attacks so until then you’ll be able to use the powerful non loss heal instead.
  • Curative Aerosol (Level 7): The top of this card provides a decent move and heal option although at this stage of progression a 2 heal is simply not large enough other than being something to remove status effects. The bottom heal is definitely stronger although comes at a loss that make it difficult to use in practice.
  • Murderous Contraption (Level 7): While the summon is likely to quickly meet their demise the bottom of this card is a great way to add some additional offensive options into our hand. Accordingly you’ll want to ignore the top of this card completely and simple cycle through the bottom attack when appropriate. You can also utilise the high 94 initiative of this card to help you plan late turns as necessary.
  • Harsh Stimulants (Level 8): The better of our level 8 options although is a situational pick at best given it adds two different methods to burst an enemy. On the top you will take 2 damage when using this though and need to be in melee range so it won’t be a card you regularly use and burn. The bottom is a little more interesting though and can boost the damage of your party members significantly when they use an area of effect attack and don’t mind taking a little damage in return (which you will likely heal anyway). If you don’t have a party that can make use of the bottom for various reasons I would pass on placing this card in your deck until your party composition changes for it to be useful.
  • Jet Propulsion (Level 8): An overall lacking card for a level 8 unlock given the top is a summoning related action and not the focus of cards we have taken thus far. It would be stronger if it allowed for move and attack but a move itself on summoned allies is really not that useful beyond extending their life for a turn or two. The bottom has some niche scenario uses although generally you’ll have a better party member to dive past enemies if necessary to secure a scenario objective.
  • Chimeric Formula (Level 9): A unique card that has a bottom that can create some truly insane combinations that can be fun and powerful. Outside of these specific situations though the card is lacklustre especially when compared to your other level 9 card so this will quickly be past over unless you want to experiment briefly for fun before retiring your Tinkerer.
  • Lethal Injection (Level 9): The best level 9 option that gives you a burn card that can simply delete an elite enemy from the scenario map when necessary. This offers fantastic utility across the Gloomhaven campaign and is a great last room card with the bottom move being fantastic until you get there given the poison utility and high move value.


Tinkerer Perks Detailed

The key decision point for your Tinkerer perks is how early you want to grab the ignore negative scenario effects perk. This does delay improving your modifier deck so I generally recommend delaying it for at least a few perk points but some players can’t stand starting with a negative scenario effect so may want to grab it early.

Outside of this decision it’s your typical perk point allocation for the Tinkerer with your decisions looking to remove as many negatives as possible before building it up with positive modifiers. This decision pathway ensures you’ll have greater reliability which dramatically improve your damage and ensure you don’t waste those big loss damage cards when you play them.

Follow this up with wound and immobilise benefits which is where the useful Tinkerer perks start to drop off rapidly with heal, additional target, muddle and fire generation not having a clear winner given it will heavily depend on your playstyle and party members from this point.


Tinkerer Enhancements Detailed

The Tinkerer offers a diverse range of enhancement options and the order you acquire them can be driven by your party progression and needs. The focus in general though is to build further on your already strong negative conditions, buffing heals further with strengthen and enhancing your move ability with extra movement or jump as a last priority. These principles can be applied to a number of your cards and Tinkerer players should focus on cards that will stay with them for a long time in a scenario for maximum value.

Stun Shot is a great initial candidate to add wound which gives you a reliable and repeatable action to place both stun and wound on a key target that is hard to match in power. Second to this you’ll want to buff your heals with strengthen for the team or buff some move cards if you find yourself struggling to keep up in scenarios. Grabbing at least one jump can also be a good option if you find yourself constantly restricted by obstacles or trap. While you will eventually acquire both of these upgrades the order will depend on your own preferences. Key candidates for healing buffs include Restorative Mist and Stamina Booster while move or jump can be placed on the likes of Restorative Mist, Disintegration Beam and Lethal Injection.

One powerful combination not noted above as it requires significant gold income is adding disarm and a target to Reviving Shock. This turns this Tinkerer card into an absolutely devastating 3 target disarm that is repeatable and a wealth of team utility as a result. If you intend to play a Tinkerer for a long time in the campaign this is a particular viable option but you’ll also need a party willing to min-max on all gold sources for this to be a realistic enhancement acquisition.


Tinkerer Items Detailed

Your early game items for the Tinkerer are fairly straight forward and comparable to other classes that have strong area of effect attacks. Eagle-Eye Googles are a fantastic initial purchase and should be activated before area of effect attacks in particular to ensure they achieve the damage they are capable of. Pairing this with an early Minor Stamina Potion to boost your already good longevity gives you a little more freedom to make aggressive plays with loss cards or maximise experience gained. Lastly, the Boots of Striding are a great pickup as the Tinkerer can be a little slow on the movement side depending on the stage of your progression with levels and enhancements so having these can ensure you can position next to your team for some of your key cards.

Beyond this players will want to adapt to team needs to fill in their weapon and armour equipment slots. A Piercing Bow is absolutely viable although you do have enemy debuffs and some high value attack cards as alternatives so that one will be party specific. Leather Armour is generally a little more useful to the Tinkerer than a Cloak of Invisibility as you’re rarely in the position that you need to go invisible. The Tinkerer really doesn’t need many items beyond Prosperity level 1 items given you already have such great utility but if you have gold to spare you can add a few other sources of enemy debuffs from equipment (weapons and consumables).

Written by
Samuel Franklin
Samuel Franklin is the founder and lead editor of the Games Finder team and enjoys video games across all genres and platforms.

Gloomhaven is one of Sam’s favourite board games and he finds himself regularly playing the convenient digital version alone and with friends. He enjoys the tactical turn based combat and unique characters that Gloomhaven offers with his favourite being the Spellweaver.

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